It’s been over four months since I last sat in front of my sewing machine! Life just gets hectic sometimes. Leading up to Christmas was crazy, followed by a fabulous family holiday to the USA (our first time to the States), my Dad’s 70th birthday; which included my first ever public speaking engagement (very daunting!!) and then a truck load of work emails to deal with meant there was no time left to sew.
My crazy husband is away this weekend competing in a half Ironman race in preparation for a full Ironman race at the end of next month; so after getting the kids dinner, bathed and to bed I decided why not get back to the machine? A year ago I had bought a stack of fabric from the States so I decided to make a simple little skirt for my daughter to wear to a party today.
The skirt takes me about 40 minutes to whip up. It’s very easy to make, in fact I think the second thing I ever attempted to sew when I started this ‘learn to sew’ adventure was this skirt. The difficult part was trying to get her measurements at 9pm (in the dark) when she was fast asleep; I managed to do it without waking her! Either she was super tired or I was a genius…
I think the result is pretty good, and by the looks of things she’s pretty chuffed too!
Now I have to try and make some headway on the quilt I started 5 months ago!
So the weekend away was most eventful! I really surprised myself with how much I actually achieved! I went with great intentions but having three children (now 5 and under) I didn’t really believe that I would get much done; if anything to be really honest.
My husband decided that he was going to take the two big kids into town to get some ingredients to cook up a lovely casserole for dinner so I stayed at home and got going on the sewing whilst our baby boy slept. I powered through heaps of belts; the ones using twill tape took no time at all; about ten minutes each, the ones I made with ribbon took a little longer only because I ironed some interfacing in-between two strips of ribbon just to give it a bit more rigidity. I think they have come up really nicely so I’m now working on a tutorial to add to my site for anyone that’s interested in making a few. You certainly don’t have to have any experience in sewing to be able to make them, and you could even just hand stitch them if you don’t own a sewing machine. (Obviously it might take you a bit longer though).
The belt my son is wearing in these photos is the ribbon version. I have to say it was a lot more difficult to get him to pose than my daughter; it comes pretty naturally to her, this one didn’t enjoy it as much so when I asked him to then model the twill tape belt it all went horribly pear shaped so I just gave up – I figured it wasn’t a fight worth having. I like to pick my battles wisely!
This weekend my husband and I are off to the Southern Highlands for a few nights R-&-R (my husband especially needs it after his efforts on the town last night…. but hay what’s new!).
It is suppose to be tops of six degrees whilst we are there so I can’t imagine we will be getting out of the house all the much – I think we will spend the few days inside by the fire reading books and doing some craft or cooking with the kids. So to save me from going completely gaga I have decided to take down my machine and whip up a few belts for the kids. Don’t you love the use of the word ‘whip’ – I make it sound like I’m a professional on the sewing machine but the reality of it is that a twenty minute task will probably take me about an hour…and that’s per belt!
If there is one thing I always find difficult to buy, it’s small sized belts. Yes there is the odd shop that sells children’s belts but they are still miles too big for my kids. This is especially true for my middle child whose waist is five centimetres (two inches) smaller than our third child who is 22 months younger! (Poor kid – he’s super skinny).
So the other day I laid my eyes on this really bright coloured twill tape and thought, “If I just buy a couple of D-rings I could whip up a few belts in no time”. So this weekend that’s the plan – I’ll see if I can make some belts for all the kids in these great rainbow colours…. and if it turns out to be a success I’ll add it as a tutorial. I’ll keep you posted.
This week my good friend and I met again for our monthly get-together and did some sewing and a lot of talking. Her Mum was down from the country for the week so she joined us and I learnt a really good old school technique; but more about that later…
At the beginning of this crazy ‘learn to sew’ adventure I started a year ago I bought this gadget online from the USA called a Yo-Yo Maker because it makes cute little material flowers from scraps of left over material. (God only knows what I thought I was going to make with it!). So a year after purchasing it I actually opened the package this week and attempted to use it. A few things I discovered:
1. One and a quarter inch yo-yos are way too small to do anything decent with (in my opinion that is!)
2. A Yo-Yo is the American term, a Suffolk Puff is the British term
3. You don’t need a Yo-Yo Maker to do it – in fact I think it’s just as easy to do it by hand. It’s so easy that I have created a tutorial here.
I decided to make some hair ties for my little girl and her cousins so I collected a few pieces of scrap material from the scrap box and cut out some circles and got to work hand stitching. You basically do a running tack stitch around the outside of the circle and then pull the thread to make it gather, tie it off and then sew the hole closed…. when I did my first one I thought “Gee that doesn’t look right at all!”. So my mums friend had a look and told me that the problem was that I had not folded over the edge. So simple but being a beginner I didn’t think of this. Once I folded over the edge it made the world of difference to the finished product.
Elizabeth is 63 years old; has sewn all her life and has passed her knowledge onto her daughter. She can sew anything – and I mean anything; regardless of the level of difficulty! She just takes one look at something and can copy it. She has a real talent. Elizabeth grabbed my failed Suffolk Puff and said “Look you just fold over the edge, crease it and then sew”. Most of us today would use an iron and carefully fold over the edge and then press it with an iron but Elizabeth just folds it over, creases it in-between her thumb and index finger and carries on around the circle. She told me her grandmother taught her to do it this way and that she had always found it to be very effective. So I tried it and it really does work! And to be perfectly honest you would never know that I haven’t used an iron. I like to keep things simple and this certainly is a lot more simple (quicker and easier) than using an iron. It’s certainly worth a try and it even means that I can now make them on the train on the way home because I don’t need the iron anymore!
Sweet don’t you think?
This week we moved house; it’s been a good eight years since I last moved and that was when it was just me and my husband. This time there is five of us in the equation and let me tell you it has been a huge task! I think I’ve probably got another good week of unpacking and sorting before our home will be in any form of order. The home we have moved to is three times the size of our cute little shoebox we have come from so I’m now lucky enough to have a designated sewing area. There’s one slight problem and that is it currently looks like this and I’m still yet to locate my sewing machine. So the hunt will begin early next week to find it and get started on the next project. I’ve got so many things I want to make at the moment. 1. A tee for my eldest boy 2. A dress for my baby girl to replace the hacked one (story to be posted shortly) 3. A dinosaur pillow for the boys bedroom 4. Some winter pyjamas for all the kids 5. A summer singlet top for myself 6. A cheeky little gift for my BFF 7. Shorts for all the kids 8. A tie, bow tie and pocket square for my hubby 9. A nightshirt for my Dad And the list goes on… So the quicker I get this house unpacked and the sewing area set up the better. There’s lots to achieve in the next few months.
For the first time in a very long time I found that I had the whole afternoon with nothing to do. All the house chores were done, the kids didn’t need entertaining because they were exhausted from the mornings activities and my husband wanted to just sit and watch sport on Foxtel so I decided to have a date with my sewing machine and also give my overlocker its first run.
At the end of last year I bought a meter of gorgeous multi-coloured polko-dot material and decided today to attempt to make a multi-layered skirt for my little girl. I love frills on young girls clothes. I think it can add some real interest without it being too girly-girly (if you know what I mean). As I’ve never made anything like this to date I researched via my mentor ‘Professor Google’ to work out the best way to achieve the look I was after. (The amount of information you can find on the internet is astounding). I also had to work out how to use my overlocker which I have to admit took me several hours! (Just on a side note: I’ve learnt that in some parts of the world, in particular the USA an overlocker is called a serger).
I have to admit that I made many mistakes along the way, I think I spent the large majority of the time unpicking overlocking mistakes but I’m hopeful that the second time round it will all be a lot clearer and it should take me one and a half hours instead of a whopping eleven hours! Yes, it took me 11 hours from beginning to end to make this simple little skirt! I think it was well worth the effort though because it’s super cute and I learnt a lot along the way.
At the end of last year my good friend and I decided that (1) we need more time to sew and (2) we need some time for us without the kids around so we came up with an idea…
We decided that once a month we would meet up for a days worth of sewing and a long, very long chat. So yesterday was day one of our get-togethers for 2014. We had such a nice day, (and very quiet without the kids I have to tell you!).
I picked up some lovely jersey material from Tessuti and made a modern version of the pillow case dress. It turned out so well! And it really was super easy to make, especially because I now have my overlocker to finish off all the edges nicely.
My girlfriend worked on some appliqué designs, oh and we also organised for our beautician to come over for some treatments just to top the day off.
So all in all it was a great day – can’t wait to do it again!